The organizations are asking the court to strike down OFAC regulations that require publishers, writers, and translators to seek a license from the government to perform the routine services necessary to publish foreign literature in the United States.
Representatives of the plaintiffs' organizations expressed frustration over a series of OFAC rulings that have created an atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion among publishers fearful of incurring prison sentences of up to 10 years or fines of up to $1,000,000. Those rulings and the regulations they interpret mandate that Americans (1) may not publish work not already published in embargoed countries, (2) may not promote or market the work, and (3) may not provide vaguely defined "artistic or substantive alterations or enhancements" to the works.
A number of pending translations, among them the PEN Anthology of Contemporary Persian Literature and a bilingual book combining the writings and photographs of both Cuban and American writers, are at risk unless the current regulations change. Esther Allen, Chair of PEN's Translation Committee, said, "publishers are just not willing to expose themselves by printing works by America's 'enemies.' This is a sad contrast to the role they took in promoting voices from behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War."
MoorishGirl has more on it.